November 29th, 2019
Ireland must do more before the end of the year in order to meet the European Union’s climate action objectives, a new study has found.
The report from Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe looks at EU Member States’ draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and any progress they have made on recommendations issued by the European Commission in June.
The CAN report found that Ireland lacked climate ambition on a number of fronts and contained a “very low share” of renewable energy compared to the level indicated by the Commission’s summer assessment.
The report goes on to say that Ireland indicated it was considering upping its contribution in September, but that the Government has not made “any announcements yet”.
Ireland also signalled to the bloc in September that it intended to increase energy efficiency, but according to the European Commissions, Irish contributions were very low.
Further information on the phase out of fossil fuel subsidies has not been addressed in the Climate Action Plan, the study found.
Reacting to the report’s findings, Catherine Devitt of Stop Climate Chaos said Ireland was failing to take necessary climate action in contrast to “many of our European counterparts”.
“If the Government’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in full and on time, it will deliver reductions of only two per cent a year for the next 10 years,” Ms Devitt said.
Instead, Ms Devitt said Ireland must sustain, “cuts of well above six per cent emissions reductions per year” in order to limit global warming below 2 degrees.
The NECP should be used an opportunity to close the country’s emissions gap, she said. Doing so would “pave the way for Ireland to move from laggard to leader” at a European level, Ms Devitt concluded.
“Just the starting point”
CAN Director Europe Wendel Trio stressed that implementing the Commission’s recommendations is “just the starting point” for climate action in the coming decade.
“Member States must see the current EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets as a baseline that they must overachieve in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the scale needed to stay on track with the Paris Agreement,” Mr Trio said.
The same day that the CAN Europe report was issued, the European Parliament declared a climate emergency and urged the Commission to ensure all proposals within the bloc are fully committed to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
Responding to the Parliament’s decision, Susann Scherbarth, climate justice campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “MEPs are recognising reality, that we are in a climate emergency that is killing people and destroying livelihoods – this must trigger bold, transformative and rapid EU action to end the fossil fuel age.
“The EU was largely responsible for causing climate change, it must cease pouring fuel on the fire in its support for climate-wrecking fossil gas  and instead fast-track the switch to 100% renewable energy and community energy leaving nobody behind – anything else is just a hollow symbol.”